It’s an unwritten rule that when Christmas rolls around, you’re allowed to eat as much as humanly possible. Want to wake up Christmas morning with a Buck’s Fizz? No problem, enjoy yourself. Fancy a couple of turkey sandwiches in the evening despite having consumed enough food to feed an army? Don’t worry about it.
The centrepiece of Christmas Day is, of course, the dinner. Questions begin to arise at this time of year of what is the acceptable version. Do you have yours with Yorkshire puddings? What’s your opinion on sprouts? Are you having turkey? The debate rages on throughout the month of December.
While we all know what will be dished up in the UK, what about European and Transatlantic neighbours? How do they celebrate Christmas? Well we’ve got the lowdown on the delicious meals that are gracing tables across the world.
Feast of Seven Fishes – Italy
Why have one fish when you can have seven? Italians are famed for their cuisine and it is no surprise they make a big deal of Christmas. The Feast of Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebrations where families would gather round to devour a host of seafood delights.
Following the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from red meat on Christmas Eve, Italians choose an abundance of fish – some even have as many as 13 dishes. If you are treated to this feast you can expect to see sardines, calamari, sole, branzino, lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, octopus and a salt cod known as baccala.
Codfish – Portugal
Photo credit: Bernt Rostad via Flickr.
Speaking of cod, Portugal can’t get enough of it. Bacalhau – a dried and salted cod dish – is somewhat of a delicacy in this corner of Iberia and, like Italians, Portuguese people gather on Christmas Eve to enjoy a special meal before the big day.
However, they stick to just the one seafood dish serving bacalhau with boiled potatoes and cabbage. The country has endured some testing times in recent years but this Christmas Eve tradition still endures and brings families together.
Imbuljuta tal-Qastan – Malta
On those cold December evenings, you need something to warm the cockles of your heart so why not try this delicious Maltese beverage. While the tiny country floating around in the Mediterranean Sea is unlikely to feel that winter chill, a piping hot glass of Imbuljuta tal-Qastan is good for what ails you.
Traditionally drank after Midnight Mass and on New Year’s Eve, this aromatic sweet soup brings together cocoa, chestnuts, cloves and citrus zest. This is the hot chocolate you’ve been missing in your life.
Pavo Trufado de Navidad – Spain
Photo credit: Pinterest
Look at that, isn’t it magnificent? Spain has taken the humble turkey and created an absolute masterpiece of a Christmas meal. Pavo Trufado de Navidad sits proudly in the centre of the table on Christmas morning just begging to be devoured.
Could it get more festive than turkey combined with pork, stuffed with truffles, doused in brandy and sherry then lovingly wrapped in Serrano ham? This tasty morsel is served on a bed of sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes and accompanied by roast potatoes – honestly, you have to try this dish!
Eggnog – USA
What drink would you start a riot over if it was taken away? Well if you happened to be at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York on Christmas Eve 1826, it would be eggnog.
Fuelled on a mixture of milk, cream, sugar, egg and whisky the cadets ran amok for two days and now the boozy pudding/drink is only available in the US and Canada during the festive period. Imagine drinking an alcoholic version of an egg custard tart and you have the eggnog experience.
As Homer Simpson once quipped triumphantly “tis the season Marge, we only get 30 sweet noggy days, then the government takes it away again” – it is seemingly a drink worth rioting over.
Menudo – Mexico
From a sickly sweet boozy treat in the US, we’re travelling south of the border to discover a Mexican soup that embraces the spirit of Christmas. Menudo is a traditional broth made from beef tripe, red chillis, onions, coriander, oregano and served on corn tortillas.
Menudo carries a huge amount of importance in Mexican culture; it is regarded as a celebratory meal and traditionally involves the entire family in its preparation. It is only natural that it plays a key role at Christmas. It is also said to be able to cure a hangover which could be very handy if you overindulge on that bottle of creme de menthe your aunty bought you.
Chicken Soup Avgolemono – Greece
Photo credit: Kalla Yu via Flickr.
When you think of Greek cuisine it’s all about meze, feta cheese and irresistible gyros but when it comes to Christmas, the Greeks have a winter warmer up their sleeves. Avgolemono sets the tone for a Mediterranean festive feast.
This hearty soup is an enticing blend of chicken, lemon; egg and rice to provide the perfect starting point to a huge family get together.
Why not experience these Christmas delicacies for yourself? Book a festive getaway with Sunmaster. It is the season of goodwill and we have a host of incredible offers just for you. Use the deal finder at www.sunmaster.co.uk and create your perfect holiday today.